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Looking for some advice

 
Greenhorn
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I have been considering returning to school to get a BS (or MS) in CS. I have a BA(CIS) and I started out doing VB, VC++, COM for 2 years. I decided I wanted to switch to Java, so I passed the SCJP and landed my current job. I have been a software engineer (promoted to senior last year) for the past 3 years working with Java/J2EE. Most, if not all, of my coworkers have CS degrees. I am having no trouble doing the work and my peformance is fine. However, I would like to have more in-depth knowledge of some of the basic CS concepts (data structures, etc.). My question is, do you think it is worth all of the time/expense/stress of going back to school? I would prefer to buy some books and learn on my own. Some job postings list a CS degree as a requirement, is experience + knowledge enough?
 
sanitation engineer
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Originally posted by J Holpp:
My question is, do you think it is worth all of the time/expense/stress of going back to school? I would prefer to buy some books and learn on my own. Some job postings list a CS degree as a requirement, is experience + knowledge enough?


We were discussing this just now and I made some points about that question in specific. You can see it here:
https://coderanch.com/t/27303/Jobs/careers/your-long-term-career-strategies
I should also complement my previous posts on this subject that while I think you can learn the fundamentals of CS on your own, how easy or dificult it will be will depend on how much knowledge of the basics you have. And also, while I advocate it being possible to learn by getting books, what I mean is getting the books to know what you need to study, and then making sure you "learn" it. You might have to bug a friend to explain concepts, or read other more digestible material on the same subject, etc. Which at the end is equivalent to attending lectures, but you don't have to have a set schedule to do it or pay a university.
And again, a diploma always helps translate your credentials. Also, by going to a structured program you can make contacts in your field.
I think if you can have some solid evidence that you know the material required from a CS, be it getting involved in projects that require data structures, etc, it would be somewhat equivalent. But it would also depend on the market: the worse it is for us, the less willing the recruiters are to peprceive these evidences as proof, and will want to see a straight degree on your resume.
 
Consider Paul's rocket mass heater.
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